Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing porn star Stormy Daniels, threatened to sue The Daily Caller and its reporters for “defamatory statements” in a Monday email sent after the website published an article detailing his history of ethically dubious business dealings.
“Let me be clear. If you and your colleagues do not stop with the hit pieces that are full of lies and defamatory statements, I have no choice but to sue each of you and your publication for defamation. During that process, we will expose your publication for what it truly is,” Avenatti wrote in the email. “If you think I’m kidding, you really don’t know anything about me. This is the last warning.”
The email came one day after the Caller reported on the multiple bankruptcies and lawsuits in Avenatti’s past, quoting a number of highly critical former business partners.
Among the reported allegations was one made by Dillanos Coffee CEO David Morris, who said on Twitter last week that Avenatti never paid for more than $160,000 worth of coffee supplied to Tully’s Coffee — a chain of coffee shops Avenatti formerly owned.
“In essence, he bought a company out of bankruptcy and then used it for a ‘pump and dump’ scheme to deprive federal and state taxing authorities of millions of dollars,” said David Nold, a Seattle attorney representing Tully’s.
Avenatti denied owing Dilanos Coffee money and Morris deleted his initial tweet hours later, saying in a subsequent tweet that they had “worked out an arrangement.”
“He honestly believes he can get up and say or do anything he wants and there’s no repercussions — largely there’s not,” one individual who has worked with Avenatti in the past told The Daily Caller. “I know this guy; he doesn’t care about anybody but himself. He loves the attention. It’s his whole lifestyle.”
A number of prominent journalists were quick to come to The Daily Caller’s defense, accusing Avenatti of hypocrisy for trying to silence journalists after harping on the importance of exposing the truth about the hush-money payment made to his client by Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen.
This is the sort of intimidation tactic, suggesting a complete contempt for what reporters do, that someone like Michael Cohen would use. https://t.co/X8Dm3PTTWC
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) May 14, 2018
I’ve found plenty to criticize in DC stories over the years, but the piece in question seems like a reasonably straightforward dig through public records. https://t.co/bVvYYWzOF3
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) May 14, 2018
This would be getting more attention if it was a reporter for a mainstream or liberal publication and a lawyer representing the other side, but intimidating reporters is despicable no matter who it’s directed at. https://t.co/1CB8oIerbH
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) May 14, 2018